Spain's UEFA EURO 2012 final defeat of Italy means Fernando Torres and Juan Mata have joined a select group of players to have played in European Champion Clubs' Cup and UEFA European Championship final victories in the same season.
The pair both featured in Chelsea FC's UEFA Champions League triumph against FC Bayern München in May and followed that up by collecting another winners' medal in Kyiv tonight. As in Munich, Torres came on as a second-half substitute in the final, but still had time to become the first player to score in two EURO finals as he struck the third in a 4-0 win.
Torres was also Spain's top scorer in Poland and Ukraine, registering three goals. "I have won my first titles at club level this season, the FA Cup and the Champions League," the 28-year-old said. "Now I have this EURO as well, which is beyond anything we could have imagined."
Mata came on in 87th minute and scored the fourth a minute later – the perfect way to mark his only participation in the tournament. The pair's success means three Spaniards have now achieved the feat, Luis Suárez having lifted the UEFA European Championship in 1964 shortly after helping FC Internazionale Milano to overcome Real Madrid CF in the European Cup final.
Twenty-four years later, the Netherlands triumphed, with Hans van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Barry van Aerle and Gerald Vanenburg all in their victorious side in the final against the USSR in Munich. The triumph marked a double celebration for the quartet, who were fresh from helping PSV Eindhoven to European Cup glory against SL Benfica.
Wim Kieft was a European Cup winner with PSV and an unused substitute in the Netherlands' EURO triumph, while Nicolas Anelka went through the same experience with France in 2000 after appearing in Real Madrid's UEFA Champions League final triumph. Anelka's Madrid team-mate Christian Karembeu holds the unique position of being an unused substitute in European Cup and UEFA European Championship final triumphs in the same year.
Ten players have played in European Cup final victories and EURO final defeats in the same year: Sepp Maier, Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, Franz Beckenbauer and Uli Hoeness (1976, Bayern München and West Germany) and Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Deco and Paulo Ferreira (2004, FC Porto and Portugal).
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